It takes a special skill to be able to figure out ways to reap the rewards from your attention-getting ideas. It's important to have a plan in place so that you aren't caught up in a situation where the momentum passes you by.
Once you have an idea in your head you first need to figure out if it's been done before. A quick look on Google can usually help you track down what you need to know. Don't just stop there though. Do searches on YouTube, as well, and other non-Google search engines like Bing, MSN, and Yahoo! just to be thorough. If your idea is something that could be considered trademarkable, then you'll want to do a quick search at the U.S. government trademark web site at Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS) (
http://tess2.uspto.gov). Just because it doesn't show up in the online search doesn't mean the idea is not protected. Consult an attorney and have them conduct a proper search, which will usually run you around $500 to $3,000. There's no sense in spending a lot of time and effort and, most importantly, money, pursuing an idea that is someday going to get you in legal trouble. An attorney should also be used when you're unsure about conducting online contests or using someone else's name on your product or service.
Of course, just because it's been done already doesn't mean you can't do it better. Competition is a great motivator, and a great starting point for imitation. Chances ...